The Robocoin kiosk allows people to swap bitcoin for cash or deposit cash to buy more bitcoin

First Bitcoin ATMs to roll-out in USA

The first ATMs that let users buy and sell bitcoin will installed in the USA by Robocoin later this month, the company said.

The devices will allow people to swap bitcoin for cash, or deposit cash to buy more bitcoin by transferring funds to or from a virtual wallet on their smartphones.

The kiosks, to be installed in Seattle as well as Austin, Texas, are similar to ATMs but have scanners to read government-issued identification such as a driver's license or a passport to confirm users' identities.

Robocoin, based in Las Vegas, installed its first bitcoin ATM in Vancouver last fall and will also start operating one in Calgary, Alberta, later this month. The firm has expressed a desire to install ATMs in Asia and Europe.

Bitcoin was launched in 2008 and is traded within a global network of computers. It is not backed by a single company or government and has no assets behind it, but its release is tightly controlled, mimicking a central banking system's control over the minting of money.

A Robcoin kiosk The currency can be "mined" by people who devote their own computing power to solving complex cryptographic puzzles used to protect information in the public transaction ledger, or blockchain, to prevent double-spending.

The supply of bitcoins is limited and its value depends on people's confidence in the currency – a bitcoin is currently worth about $636 (£380), but its value has fluctuated widely as the currency's visibility has increased.

Last September, a bitcoin was worth around $150, but by late November the value passed the $1,000 mark. Users can buy products and services online on sites including or in a handful of stores.

The currency's reputation took a hit last week when two of its best known exchanges suspended withdrawals. One of them, Slovenia-based Bitstamp, said on Friday that it planned to allow redemptions to resume.

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